Formula worries resurface after baby boy dies
Updated: 2012-01-16 08:01
By Jin Zhu (China Daily)
BEIJING - Tests of a baby formula that family members suspect killed their boy in Duchang county in East China's Jiangxi province last week show that the product is safe, local government authorities said on Sunday.
But the boy's family insisted the result wasn't reliable and asked for a new test.
The samples of the batch of Synutra brand milk powder complied with national standards for bacteria content, including the total number of bacterial colonies and coliform groups, according to test results from the Jiangxi provincial dairy quality inspection station. The results were posted on the county government website on Sunday.
The samples were taken from four unopened cans of the milk powder at the boy's home and one can from a local supermarket where the boy's family had purchased the products, the report said.
On Thursday, a family in the county said that twins were sickened after being fed the newly-bought formula from Synutra on Jan 6.
The boy died later that day after several hours' emergency treatment in a local hospital, while the girl survived and went home one day later.
The boy's death report and the girl's medical record, which were provided to China Daily by the parents, showed the boy died of "infant muggy syndrome and respiratory failure" and the girl was diagnosed with "acute diarrhea and spasms".
As of Sunday, the county had not received any other reports of infants falling ill after consuming the same batch of the milk powder products, the local government said on its website.
However, Jiang Minhai, the twins' uncle, told China Daily on Sunday that the test report was not convincing "because the test was done in the presence of the company's representatives. But we (the family) had to stay outside", he said.
"We need a face-to-face test once again," he added.
Zhang Liang, chairman of Synutra International, the baby formula producer, said on Thursday on the company's website that the company wouldn't recall any products because they are safe.
"So far, the company hasn't received any notice to remove our products from store shelves, except in the store from which the ill infants' formula was bought," he said.
The reputation of China's dairy industry sustained a heavy blow after a scandal in 2008 in which at least six children died and nearly 300,000 were seriously injured from drinking powdered milk laced with melamine, an industrial chemical added to milk to give misleading high protein readings.
Last month, fresh milk products from Mengniu Dairy Co, one of the country's largest milk producers, in its Meishan plant in Southwest China's Sichuan province, had levels of a potentially cancer-causing toxin that were more than double the national standard.
"For myself, I have lots of hesitation when faced with domestic dairy products since there were really too many safety scandals in the past few years," Wang Xin, the 32-year-old mother of a 6-month-old baby in Beijing, said.
"I prefer to buy milk powder produced overseas," she said.
(China Daily 01/16/2012 page5)